Friday, July 28, 2006

We will be perfect in every aspect. You drop a pass, you run a mile. You miss a blocking assignment, you run a mile. ... Perfection.

Last night I got to spend some time at dinner with an old friend and seminary buddy, Matt Yaley. He's the youth pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church in George, Iowa.

One of the things we were lamenting was the low priority and "optional" nature of church in the mind of so many people. By way of contrast, sports and other activities far outweigh church activities in importance.

People will miss church if tired, but not practice or ballet or so many other things. When activities come in conflict with church activities, church loses.

Why is that? Why is it that so many other things are seen as not optional, but church is?

A kid not wanting to attend basketball practice might be told he's letting the team down, but don't folks realize that when they miss the assembling of the saints they are in the same way letting the team down?

A person (or parent of said person) will ensure that all available means are taken advantage of in order to achieve success in various activities. Players will modify what they eat, listen to coaches, get enough sleep, watch tape, exercise vigoriously daily, attend clinics, study playbooks, rely on teammates for the common good, and seek mentors in the field in order to be the best possible in that arena.

To win the championship, a person will make great sacrifices ... working toward a goal.

Is there a goal with Christianity? For the individual, that would be the glory of God through the process of sanctification. Do we take advantage of all available means to achieve that goal? Do we study the playbook? Do we seek out a mentor (discipler)? Do we listen to the coaches (church leaders/teachers)? Do we get enough sleep the night before to not only be there on Sunday, but be there at our best? Do we exercise vigorously on our knees seeking divine aid? Do they work together as a team, relying on teammates (church family) for the benefit of the common good?
Real community means real responsibility for each other. It means a commitment to be there for each other even when the schedule is tight and when motivation is low. But the typical Christian adult in our culture knows little about commitment to community. -Mark DeVries, Family-Based Youth Ministry
Let's be fair ... for far too many people in far too many churches, being the best ballplayer is far more important than being holy. Folks want to be perfect on the football field, running a mile when missing an assignment, but Christ commands us to be perfect with regard to our lives as Christians.
The life of holiness is the life of faith in which the believer, with a deepening knowledge of his own sin and helplessness apart from Christ, increasingly casts himself upon the Lord, and seeks the power of the Spirit and the wisdom and comfort of the Bible to battle against the world, the flesh and the devil. -Edmund P. Clowney, The Church
Spiritual gut check: Where does the goal of holiness rank on your priorities list? Are you taking advantage of all available means to achieve the goal? Are you instilling that mindset in your kids that they would be winners in their Christian life, not just on the field?


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